CALABASAS, Calif. -- Real estate agents find that few of their customers are aware of what special lending programs are available, according to a multistate survey by ARCS Mortgage Inc. And they often take the initiative in educating and helping homebuyers qualify for nontraditional home loans.

The survey, sent to more than 20,000 agencies in 12 states, indicated that realty agents not only find suitable properties for their clients but they assist home buyers in qualifying for special loan programs, and refer them to financing sources.

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